Psychiatric disabilities in China topic of April 11 talk

April 9, 2018 | Events, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Staff

Dr. Zhiying Ma, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan, will visit UT to give a talk this week.

She will discuss “Living With Psychiatric Disabilities in China: Family, Institution and Law” Wednesday, April 11, at 4 p.m. in University Hall Room 4410.


“Over the last three decades, most psychiatric inpatients in China have been hospitalized against their will by their families. Despite intense public discussion on patient rights, the recent Mental Health Law has reinforced the family’s rights and responsibilities in patient management,” Ma said.

Her work examines why the family continues to occupy such a critical role in psychiatry. From 2008 to 2014, Ma conducted 32 months of fieldwork in institutional and community settings, and conducted interviews with policymakers.

Ma’s talk will introduce the concept of “biopolitical paternalism,” a mode of governance that legitimizes the state’s population management as paternalistic interventions, which displaces the paternalistic responsibilities onto individual families.

A postdoctoral fellow at the Michigan Society of Fellows, Ma will talk about the impact of biopolitical paternalism on family relations and everyday lives of persons with psychiatric disabilities.

For more information on the free, public lecture, contact the Disability Studies Program at 419.530.7244.

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